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Activist of the Month: Miguel Lucatero

At the League of Education Voters (LEV), we recognize all of the hard work that you do toward improving public education across Washington state. We are pleased to announce our Activist of the Month for June: Miguel Lucatero. Read about his experience as a strong advocate for Latino parents in the Tri-Cities.

League of Education Voters June 2017 Activist of the Month Miguel Lucatero

June Activist of the Month Miguel Lucatero

Miguel Lucatero is a licensed home child care provider since 2001 who is participating in the Early Achievers program. He is also the parent spokesperson for Padres de Familia Preocupados por la Educacion y el Exito de Sus Hijos (Parents of Families Concerned for the Education and Success of their Children). In March 2016, a group of Tri-Cities parents met to exchange ideas and find out which kinds of problems they were experiencing in the education system. From there, the parent group Padres Preocupados por la Educacion y el Exito de Sus Hijos was born, and they have continued to meet monthly.

Last month, Mr. Lucatero wrote a letter to the Washington State Board of Education outlining the problems faced by his community, particularly the loss of tutoring services provided under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) when the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) planning stages began.

Miguel has been living in Washington State for 20 years. When asked what drives him, he says, “I am a person who likes to work because I am concerned for the future, the best interest of our children, and the well-being of the community.”

He and his wife have two daughters attending Stevens Middle School in Pasco. One is an 8th-grader and the other daughter is in the 7th grade. Mr. Lucatero says, “They still do not know want they would like to do, but they know they want to go to college.”

Although his community faces many challenges, Mr. Lucatero is inspired by trainings made available through the Early Learning Community on various aspects of early childhood education. “I like being able to take college classes about brain development,” he says. “That gives me ideas on how my wife and I can best teach the children in our care.”

If Miguel could design our education system, he would like to see teachers who are content experts developing curricula to ensure that students successfully finish high school with a focused, concrete foundation that would prepare them to achieve the college vision they want. “Think of how we build houses on concrete foundations,” Mr. Lucatero explains. “That way, our students could be successful in obtaining the careers they envision.”

Posted in: Activist of the Month, Advocacy and Activism, Blog, Closing the Gaps, ESSA

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Join Joyce Yee for Coffee: April Meetings

Joyce YeeI invite you to join me over coffee for a series of informal meetings to share your stories and discuss how to advocate for education to our policymakers.

This is a critical year for education. We are working to ensure that increases in education funding—as a result of McCleary v. Washington or other efforts—are ample, equitable, stable, and targeted toward evidenced-based strategies that improve access and outcomes for all students. Our vision for public education is one that guarantees every Washington student the opportunity for a high-quality education from early learning through the first two years of college. (more…)

Posted in: Advocacy and Activism, Blog, Events

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Join Joyce Yee for coffee!

Joyce YeeI invite you to join me over coffee for a series of informal meetings to share your stories and discuss how to advocate for education to our policymakers.

This is a critical year for education. We are working to ensure that increases in education funding—as a result of McCleary v. Washington or other efforts—are ample, equitable, stable, and targeted toward evidenced-based strategies that improve access and outcomes for all students. Our vision for public education is one that guarantees every Washington student the opportunity for a high-quality education from early learning through the first two years of college. (more…)

Posted in: Advocacy and Activism, Blog, Events

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Why parents and the community should give their input on contract negotiations

This piece was written by Heidi Bennett, a parent-advocate with two students in Seattle Public Schools. It originally appeared on the Our Schools Coalition blog on October 25th. It was also published on ParentMap on October 26th.

What happens in our classrooms and school matters–it’s one of the most critical components of our children’s lives. More often than not, the school day and our children’s education are determined by the teacher and principal contracts – known as the “Collective Bargaining Agreement” or CBA. About every three years, representatives of Seattle Public Schools sit down with representatives of the Seattle Education Association—the teachers’ union–to negotiate their contract.

During the CBA negotiations, the schools and the union decide class size, the length of the school day, how teachers are hired and evaluated, how families can best interact with their school community, and much more.

At the beginning of the last round of negotiations, a group of community members came together to add their views. Made up of Seattle Public School parents, local employers, community volunteers and taxpayers, the Our Schools Coalition works to express the community’s voice in teacher contract negotiations, to advocate for our children, and to support teachers as professionals.

Together, we were able to share our priorities to district and union leadership and with other parents and people in our community. In September of 2010, the union and schools both agreed to a groundbreaking agreement which included nearly all of our proposals, and for the first time, connected student achievement to teacher performance in its evaluation process.

Read more here.

*Editor’s Note: The comment form mentioned in this piece is closed, but the need for parent and community input in contract negotiations is still an important and relevant message.

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OSPI hosting webinars on Common Core

Washington is set to begin implementing Common Core Standards and OSPI is offering up several webinars for those looking for more understanding on the standards. The webinars will be focused on the three different levels of Common Core Implementation:

  • District and Building CCSS System Coordination – Systems-implementation focus for connecting leaders, programs, and instruction across content areas to support strong implementation of the CCSS.
  • Mathematics CCSS Content – In-depth focus on the mathematics shifts within the CCSS and resources available within Washington and nationally.
  • English Language Arts CCSS Content – In-depth focus on the ELA content shifts, as well as critical linkages and implications within the CCSS across subject areas and disciplines.

The next webinar will be taking place September 18th and will focus on Math. OSPI will be hosting webinars on Common Core Standards through May of 2013.

For those seeking more background information, The webinar archives can be found here.

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Department of Education releases report on effectiveness of "Place-Based" strategies

Titled “Impact in Place: A Progress Report on the Department of Education’s Place-Based Strategy,” the Department of Education has released a report on the progress the Education Department has made to better align itself with other entities to improve the interconnected problems that affect student achievement. While most people associate place with location, this initiative refers to the relationship, or place, the Department of Education has with other agencies working together to support effective strategies that improve education and children’s communities. According to the report, the place-based strategies have better equipped the department to target “the specific needs of individuals and populations, but also improves the impact and efficiency of investments.”

In a statement, the Education Department said “the focus on place gives [the agency] a mechanism to see how its investments focused on ‘in-school’ levers of change interact with ‘out of school’ conditions for learning, as well as the interventions meant to address them. With research showing that out-of-school factors influence students’ experiences in the classroom, the place-based framework helps the Department move to ‘both-and’ solutions.”

This approach is exemplified in the Promise Neighborhood Program, a one to five year grant that helps eligible community organizations develop plans to meet complex community needs.  The agency has used a similar strategy in the Race to the Top – District-Level Competition, which encourages school districts to work with community organizations and agencies.

The report includes a case-study in San Francisco and analysis of programs in many major U.S. cities including Memphis, New Orleans, San Antonio, and New York City. Read the study here. You can also read more over at the Department of Education’s Homeroom Blog.

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